Challenges and Rewards

Posted on by COYFC

by Katie Snell

Have you ever made a quick judgment about a situation, reacted, and later realized that your judgment was wrong? Working with at-risk youth can be a lot like that. We sometimes decide that a student is hopeless. That is how I felt about Clay. When he first started coming to the City Life Center, we clashed a lot. He is a natural born leader, opinionated, loud, humorous. He lived by his own rules so much that one night I kicked him out of Club. He told me, “I always get kicked out of these kinds of places, so I guess I’ll just move on to another one.” He stayed away for a few weeks.

Finally, he came back. I had given up on Clay easily. I had decided that he would be too much work, that he would never change and that he wasn’t interested in being serious about the Lord. I was wrong.

Clay started coming more regularly and staying for our High School Bible studies. He started building relationships with the Staff and Volunteers. One time during open gym, I sat down next to him and decided to get to know more about him. I found out that he was raised without a father. He was one of many children his single mother had struggled to raise. He shared how hard it was for him growing up and how he had to become strong and resistant to people so he could protect his mother and siblings.

Paul reminds me in Philippians 1:6 that Jesus doesn’t give up on anybody. "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

Jesus went to work on Clay. After he accepted Christ, he decided to go to our Summer mission trip. After that he made a decision that he wanted to learn more deeply what it meant to be a follower of Jesus, so he started meeting one on one with a staff member. When our Fall trip came around, he was earnest to attend and encouraged others to come along including his friend Rell. When Rell told Clay he couldn’t afford to go to camp, Clay decided to pay for Rell. How cool that when Clay first came to camp he needed sponsored and at the next camp he was sponsoring someone else.

I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed getting to see God keep His promise, that He will not stop working inside of Clay. He is a huge help with our younger guys and is a joy to our staff and volunteers. He has graduated and is working on becoming a student leader, and is using his natural leadership abilities to relate and positively impact the kids who come to the Center.

Share |